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2006 Crystal Ball: The Big Three

After a year like 2005, what’s in store for the broadcast networks in 2006? Many of the predictions submitted by TVNewser readers about NBC were variations on this theme: “Campbell Brown will replace Katie Couric on Today.”

But if she stays at NBC, commenters have a variety of options for Sean McManus to consider. Several readers expect the CBS Evening News — perhaps with Bob Schieffer, perhaps without — to surpass ABC in the ratings race. “The CBS Evening News will experience substantial increases in the ratings as McManus makes some revolutionary changes,” an e-mailer says. And how about a partnership between CBS and CNN?

As for ABC, many commenters are skeptical about the new multi-anchor iterations of World News Tonight and Nightline. “At least by sometime in 2007, one of the five new ABC anchors (3 Nightline, 2 WNT) will be off the show,” an e-mailer states.

Read all the broadcast network predictions after the jump…




NBC:

“Couric will be off to CBS (hopefully) and Campbell Brown will breathe new life into TODAY like Matt did when Bryant left.”

“Campbell Brown will replace Katie on the ‘Today Show’ and Natalie Morales will replace Ann Curry. This will lead to ABC’s ‘Good Morning America’ taking over the top spot for the first time in a decade.”

“If Katie does leave for CBS, watch for Campbell Brown to replace Katie on ‘Today.’ Although Alexis Glick is a favorite of Zucker, she just doesn’t have the hard news background that Campbell has.”

“Alexis Glick takes over for Maria Bartiromo on Closing Bell, filling in on the Today Show as a contributor.”

“[Assuming Katie leaves:] The Today Show will shake it up and add two full time female co-hosts along with Matt Lauer. I predict it will be Lauer, Roker, Curry, Alexis Glick, and Melissa Stark.”

“Campbell Brown will replace Couric on Today; ratings initially dip, then rise, leading to a feud between Brown and Sawyer (Mee-ow!)”

“NBC will tie its new NFL primetime broadcast to the Today Show. They’ll do ‘Where in the World is Matt Lauer?’ segments, and he’ll end up at tailgate parties outside the stadium. Or, they’ll do locker room makeovers with some up-and-coming designer. Perky Katie Couric will do sideline interviews with NFL wives.”

“NBC will surprise everyone by having Chris Matthews guest host episodes of ‘Meet The Press,’ leading to months of speculation about Russert’s and Matthews’ future.”

“NBC Nightly News will continue at #1 for another year.”

“Tim Russert will have Arianna Huffington on Meet the Press and the two will have a contentious on-air debate about his role in the CIA investigation (As a result, a red-hot Arianna Huffington will get a cable talk show: MSNBC?).”

ABC:

“At least by sometime in 2007, one of the five new ABC anchors (3 Nightline, 2 WNT) will be off the show, and perhaps a breakout star anchor will take over one of the shows full-time. Remember, this happened the last time any network tried multiple anchors (early WNT, Mudd and Brokaw, Rather and Chung).”
“ABC will dump Woodruff and use Vargas in a different manner.”

“I don’t think Vargas & Woodruff will last, and will probably become just Vargas.”

“Vargas and Woodruff will not last through the summer. Woodruff will be replaced by a ‘name’ journalist from another network, and the new duo will flourish.”

“Elizabeth Vargas will become the solo anchor of WNT.”

“ABC will realize that Bob Woodward is a REPORTER not an ANCHOR…”

“Vargas will be dropped and Woodruff becomes sole anchor.”

“ABC will be in an extremely close battle for 2nd with CBS as Vargas/Woodruff won’t catch on.”

“Vargas & Woodruff will move ABC’s ratings, but not enough to knock Brian Williams out of the top spot.”

“I predict Nightline using only Terry Moran and Cynthia McFadden and getting rid of Bashir.”

“New Nightline fails in ratings.”

“Nightline will be cancelled.”

“Nightline doesn’t last past Labor Day. Keith Olbermann replaces the triumvirate for an hour, four nights a week. Giselle Fernandez is hired to do Friday night celebrity interviews and entertainment pieces.”

“Ratings for ‘The Today Show’ will suffer, and ‘Good Morning America’ will emerge as the new ratings champ. (Until ‘Fox and Friends’ overtakes it, that is.)”

“Diane Sawyer will continue to feel ‘ignored and undervalued’ by all…and make waves to get the respect and attention she thinks she deserves.”

“Charlie Gibson or Diane Sawyer will retire from GMA.”

“GMA will look to groom someone to take Charles Gibson’s place on GMA in anticipation of his 2008 retirement plans. Look for Bill Weir or Chris Cuomo to take a bigger role on the show.”

“Ariel Sharon recruits Ted Koppel to run on his new Kadima Party list. Koppel becomes the next Foreign Minister of Israel.”

“Dan Abrams goes to ABC News and ’20/20′ to host and report.”

“ABC News will put a Primetime-esque show on Saturday nights.”

“ABC News Now will become an out and out cable news (as will as online) operation.”

CBS:

“Katie will opt out of CBS, but McManus will surprise everyone with a run at either Wolf or Anderson and sign a joint agreement with CNN for their use. Sweeten the pot for Wolf by offering him an expanded one-hour Face the Nation once Bob retires from CBS. Borger will be his right hand. Also offer him a chance to do big time interviews for 60 Minutes (much easier than investigative pieces…less legwork… a weekend here and there following the big shot around…) This agreement will deepen the partnership between CBS and CNN. Les will use this success to begin discussions with Parsons about increased CBS/CNN merging of resources.”

“Dan Rather will finally see the error of his ways in remaining loyal to CBS, he’ll show up at CNN.”

“Scott Pelley and Lara Logan will leave 60 Minutes to anchor the CBS Evening News.”

“Aaron Brown will be hired to co-anchor CBS news with Ann Curry.”

“CBS will decide to pair John Roberts with Lara Logan a la the Vargas/Woodruff pairing.”

“Bob Schieffer stays at CBS Evening News.”

“CBS keeps Schieffer until March, adds in Roberts as the permanent host and permanently redesigns the CBS Evening News designs to resemble the hip look of ‘The Early Show.’”

“The ‘CBS Evening News with Katie Couric’ will challenge ABC’s new anchor duo for second place in the ratings.”

“CBS Evening News will pass World News Tonight.”

“The CBS Evening News will experience substantial increases in the ratings as McManus makes some revolutionary changes, including Katie Couric.”

“CBS News will be right and they will either move into second place for evening news or challenge them to the point of making ABC News rethink Vargas/Woodruff.”

“With the new changes, CBS surpasses ABC in demo ratings by the end of the year and is closing the gap on ABC itself.”

“CBS News (with Bob S.) will overtake ABC News by March.”

“Sean McManus will make a run at Brett Baier to show everyone he’s SERIOUS about getting great people to CBS. Isn’t David Martin close to retirement anyways?”

“Russ Mitchell’s profile and status at CBS News will be elevated primarily because McManus highly regards his work and style.”

“Aaron Brown will join 60 Minutes.”

“Adds Jon Stewart as a weekly commentator on 60 Minutes and Friday commentator on CBS Evening News.”

“The Early Show — whose median age is 60 — will run an ‘Andy Rooney Does the Internet’ series, helping older viewers to navigate the web as a resource; clips which do not make it on air but are posted on CBS Public Eye will become an instant internet sensation.”

“CBS Digital’s Larry Kramer will cultivate a stable of bloggers — conservative and liberal — on call to comment on news events as they develop.”

“Les Moonves will actively court George Clooney to replace Bob Schieffer on the Evening News. Clooney, flattered, will avoid speculation, but ultimately turn down the offer (After Cronkite pipes in), leaving Katie Couric with the job.”

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